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A dark-featured woman winces in pain as she rubs her neck with a mangled car in the background.

When you or a loved one has been in a car accident, understanding how to make a claim for whiplash injury can save you significant time. As the name suggests, whiplash is a neck injury that simulates the back and forth motion of a whip when it is cracked. It is marked by overextension when the head is thrown either backward or to the side, followed by forceful motion in the opposite direction.

As one of the most common injuries in vehicle collisions, whiplash shouldn’t be dismissed as minor. Making a claim with the right lawyer could reveal that you are entitled to considerable compensation.

You may be reading this page after already having left the scene of the accident. However, there are still practical steps you can make to ensure you receive maximum reimbursement for your losses.

Step 1: Get Medical Attention Right Away

This can be achieved in several ways:

  • At the accident scene
  • In the emergency room
  • By your primary care physician

At The Smith Law Center, we recommend doing all three if the circumstances allow. 

If emergency responders arrive on the scene, it is in your best interest to cooperate with them. The moments directly following a crash will leave your body pumping with adrenaline, which can distract you from even serious pain. Allow medics to treat and examine you, whether you think you might be injured or not.

When the crash seems minor, keep in mind that it may not necessarily mean that your injuries are. Whiplash is a soft tissue spinal cord injury that often doesn’t surface immediately. Only a trained medical professional can properly diagnose whiplash injury.

Related Article: Delayed Symptoms After an Accident 

Upon leaving the crash, visit the emergency room and make an appointment to be seen by your primary care physician right away. Visiting the emergency room ensures you are seen as soon as possible, while your treating physician will give a more thorough assessment of your injuries.

Do’s and Don’ts When Seeking Medical Attention

  • Do have all of your injuries documented as soon as possible by a medical professional
  • Do let your doctor know of every symptom you are experiencing, whether minor or not
  • Do follow doctor’s orders. Failing to do so could seriously undermine your claim credibility or recovery amount
  • Do get a full physical evaluation as soon as possible following the accident
  • Don’t try to be strong or tough and insist you are okay
  • Don’t say you’re fine, even if you feel ok at the moment
  • Don’t try and move your car or touch the wreckage

Step 2: Contact a Whiplash Injury Lawyer 

It is highly recommended that you enlist the help of a qualified whiplash lawyer. A competent, experienced lawyer will be one of your most valuable resources when it comes to knowing how to make a claim for whiplash injury.

The best way to ensure you receive maximum compensation for your losses is by seeking legal assistance from an experienced attorney.

Consider the benefits of putting a seasoned advocate on your side. A lawyer can:

  • Handle all paperwork within the filing deadlines to ensure you don’t miss your chance to claim compensation
  • Hire top investigative experts to assess the crash and determine liability factors
  • Build an effective case strategy based on state laws
  • Field calls from the other party’s insurance company and negotiate for a fair settlement on your behalf
  • Relieve the legal burden from your shoulders so you can take time to heal and recover

At The Smith Law Center, we offer a free initial legal consultation for whiplash injury victims. We will listen closely to your story, help you determine whether your case qualifies for compensation, and offer insight regarding your options moving forward.

All consultations are given as a courtesy and without obligation. To start your free case review, simply contact us at (757) 695-9288today.

Step 3: Report the Accident

There are two main entities you’ll want to be sure you file a formal report with: the police at the scene of the accident and your insurance company. In both instances, it’s best to do so as soon as possible.

Filing a Police Report

If police do not arrive on the scene of the accident and you’ve been injured, contact the police department to request that an officer come to fill out a report.

The police report is not an end-all report on the collision, though it can boost your case credibility and is a key reference document for your claim. The more documentation you have, the better.

File a Claim With Your Insurance

You are required to notify your insurance company of any accident you’ve been in, preferably within 48 hours or at your earliest convenience. However, there are a few important tips to keep in mind before doing this:

Do’s and Don’ts for Reporting:

  • Do call your insurance company as soon as possible
  • Do stick to the facts when speaking to them
  • Don’t discuss blame with any insurance adjuster, even your own
  • Don’t admit fault or assume responsibility for any part of the collision
  • Don’t agree to an offer from your insurance company, whether verbally or in writing, without first speaking with a lawyer

Another part that’s worth noting is that your insurer may request that you have an Independent Medical Exam (IME). Put simply, an IME is a medical exam that is given by a physician who is provided by the insurance company. It is widely known that this exam is meant to poke holes in any substantial injury diagnosis by your treating physician. The goal is to protect the insurance company from paying more money.

In most cases, there is no way out of an IME. However, talk with a lawyer about your options before having this done. Be mindful that anything you say or do from the moment you arrive at your appointment may be used to discredit the severity of your injury.

If you have questions about any of these reports, the whiplash injury attorneys at The Smith Law Center are available for providing free, no-obligation consultations. We can help ensure your rights are protected. Simply contact us at (757) 695-9288 today.

Step 4: Document Everything

The third step in understanding how to make a claim for whiplash injury is documenting all evidence. In this case, “evidence” can include any form of documentation, such as photos of the accident or your injuries, audio recordings, and all receipts or medical expenses associated with the crash.

Examples of documents that can be used as evidence might include:

  • Dashcam footage of the crash, if you have it
  • Photos or medical records as proof of your health status before your injury
  • Doctors notes for approving time away from your job
  • Pay stubs, medical leave logs, or proof of absence from work
  • Medical documentation or test results that show your injury and recovery progress
  • Notes or journal entries recording your symptoms

Gathering any and all evidence immediately and consistently is in your best interest. It will also save your lawyer valuable time in the investigative process. This key to understanding how to make a claim for whiplash injury.

One of the greatest advantages of having a legal advocate on your side is that your attorney will be a tremendous help in this step. A qualified law firm will have the resources to conduct a proper investigation into your whiplash claim.

Step 5: Be Patient

The right attorney will have an optimistic yet practical view of your case. The reality is, there are no quick settlements in whiplash injury claims, and you should be wary of any lawyer who promises one.

Be prepared to exercise patience and prudence until your claim is settled. While there is no set time it takes for a whiplash case to settle, most will resolve within six months to a year or year and a half. During this time, it’s important to continue cooperating with your attorney, especially until negotiations are finalized.

Tip: Avoid using or remove yourself from social media platforms entirely during the legal process. Defense attorneys have been known to use social media content to weaken your claim for injuries or compensation, so be careful about what you or your friends and loved ones post.

Start a Whiplash Injury Claim

Learn how to make a claim for whiplash injury today by calling The Smith Law Center at (757) 695-9288. As one of Virginia’s top personal injury law firms, our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience and have secured over $1 billion in verdicts and settlements. We are seasoned attorneys and understand how to make the legal process as smooth as possible for you and your family.

Stephen SmithFew law firms understand the intricacies of brain and spinal cord injuries, including whiplash. Our firm founder, Stephen Smith, is a graduate of Marquette University’s Neuroanatomical Dissection of the Human Brain and Spinal Cord program. He has broken statewide records with his case results, which include what was then the largest traumatic brain injury verdict in the world.

Our extensive knowledge and experience with neck and brain injuries, including whiplash, help us obtain maximum compensation for our clients.

If you or a loved one are looking for help with how to make a claim for whiplash injury, our seasoned team of trial lawyers is ready to assist you in making a strong recovery.

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If you or a relative had a severe reaction to military housing mold, it might be time to talk with a toxic mold lawyer. Mold is everywhere, and can be dangerous. Researchers have linked mold to serious respiratory illnesses in some individuals.

Smith Law Center may be able to help if a property owner failed to keep you safe from mold in your military housing. We are one of Virginia’s oldest and most successful firms. We know how to hold negligent property owners responsible, especially when the military is involved.

Call us at (757) 244-700 or contact us online to set up a free consultation. There’s no fee for learning more about Virginia mold laws, your rights, and your legal options.

Mold in Military Housing

Black mold in military housing became widely known when Reuters published an investigation in 2018. Since then, the Department of Defense and the housing providers were supposed to take steps to improve the situation.

Unfortunately, a 2020 audit by the DoD Office of Inspector General found many issues, including the need for mold remediation, still persist.

Monetary Awards in Military Housing Toxic Mold Cases

If the property owner lets toxic mold run wild and continue to cause you harm, talk with our toxic mold attorneys about filing a lawsuit.

You may receive financial compensation for:

Service members and their families do not receive different types of damages than civilians. These are civil lawsuits in traditional courts of law.

Military Housing Mold Toxicity Symptoms

The Institute of Medicine discovered there was evidence connecting exposure to indoor mold with:

  • Upper respiratory tract symptoms;
  • Coughing;
  • Wheezing;
  • Asthma symptoms in individuals with asthma; and
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals with weak immune systems.

There is also limited evidence that mold causes respiratory illnesses in healthy children or causes people to develop asthma.

Understanding Exposure to Toxic Mold in Military Housing

The topic of toxic mold is complicated. This Is in part because the term “toxic mold” isn’t accurate. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains mold isn’t toxic or poisonous. However, some molds are toxigenic, which means they produce toxins called mycotoxins.

Mold is common in military housing because it’ll grow anywhere there’s moisture. That includes on and inside walls, carpet, upholstery, wallpaper, and heating and air conditioning systems. This is especially pronounced in humid conditions such as those present in Virginia.

Some people have no difficulties around mold, even large infestations in their homes. Other individuals are sensitive to molds, including those that produce mycotoxins. Someone can have a severe reaction when exposed to a large amount of mold indoors.

People may be more likely to experience mold toxicity symptoms if they have:

  • Allergies,
  • An underlying lung disease,
  • Immune suppression,
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder,
  • Asthma, or
  • Another chronic respiratory disease.

Common Types of Military Housing Mold

When you’re trying to learn more from the CDC and other resources, you’ll see the word “fungus” a lot. Mold is a type of fungus, which is something that exists all around us. Fungi are living organisms different from animals, plants, and bacteria. There are over 200,000 types of fungi and over 100,000 types of molds.

If you discovered mold in your military housing, it could be Cladosporium, Penicillium, Stachybotrys chartarum, Aspergillus, or many other types. Stachybotrys is what everyone knows as black mold. Aspergillus is a common indoor fungus, which releases mycotoxins and can cause illness. Your symptoms may resemble common allergy or asthma symptoms.

Who is Liable for Military Housing Mold?

Since 1996, most military housing has come under the management of private companies:

  • Belfour Beatty Communities: Fort Eustis and Fort Story/li>
  • Lincoln Military Housing: Dahlgren, Little Creek, Naval Station Norfolk, Northwest Annex, Oceana, Portsmouth, Quantico, and Yorktown/li>
  • Hunt Military Communities: Fort Lee and Langley AFB

Outside of Virginia, Lendlease and Corvias Military Living are two more housing providers. Together, these five companies formed the Military Housing Association.

Military families living in on-base housing must take their complaints to their private management company — not the military. The company is responsible for providing habitable conditions and making repairs, including mold remediation.

If you’re unsure about your rights, review your state law and local ordinances about mold. In general, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to provide a habitable unit, which means it has to be safe to live in. A unit isn’t safe if it’s causing a tenant health issues due to mold.

The Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act requires landlords to disclose if there’s mold in the written report of the move-in inspection. If a tenant discovers visible mold in the unit, then the Act requires the landlord to remove the mold and relocate the tenant until it’s gone at no additional cost to the tenant.

Unfortunately, many families find their housing providers aren’t receptive to complaints. Attorney Stephen M. Smith has handled many mold lawsuits against military housing providers who fail to abide by their lease terms and the law when it comes to mold remediation and other hazards.

Other Hazards in Military Housing

Many service members and their families deal with uncomfortable, if not hazardous, conditions in privatized military housing, including:

Lead Paint: Lead-based paint can cause headaches, nausea, fatigue, irritability, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, seizures, organ damage, and in extreme cases, death.

Asbestos: Exposure to asbestos harms a person’s lungs, and can lead to lung fibrosis (scarring), lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

Radon: Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. It naturally forms underground, however cracks and gaps in buildings lead to over-exposure indoors.

Poor Water Quality: Dozens of military sites have water with detectable levels of harmful chemicals.

Other issues involve rodent or insect infestations, pesticides, and faulty electrical wiring.

What Happens When a Lot of People Get Sick?

Sometimes mold exposure impacts a single individual or family. However, when the mold spreads throughout military housing, it can impact hundreds or thousands of people.

Occasionally, a large enough group of people are injured to allow for a class action or mass tort lawsuit. A class action lawsuit is one where a class representative acts as the plaintiff on behalf of the group of hurt individuals. Not every victim participates in the lawsuit. There are rules about when a group is big and similar enough to create a class action.

Mass tort lawsuits are different. When there are fewer plaintiffs who have their own set of circumstances, each person files a lawsuit. For efficiency’s sake, one or a couple of law firms may represent most plaintiffs, and the lawsuits are consolidated in a federal court.

Call the Military Housing Mold Lawyers at Smith Law Center for Help Right Away

Mold cases come about in a few ways. You or a loved one may start getting sick, and after weeks or months of struggling to find answers, you finally realize your military housing has a mold infestation. In other cases, you struggle with visible mold and then become ill.

Once you connect the illness with the mold, it’s time to talk with a toxic mold lawyer. Reaching out to an attorney early helps you build a strong compensation claim. We know how to collect evidence, identify who is liable, and craft a successful argument for a settlement or court award.

Attorney Stephen M. Smith has decades of experience handling injury claims and has been internationally recognized for his work. He has litigated cases involving catastrophic injuries and complex legal and scientific issues. In 2019, he was inducted into the Virginia Lawyers Hall of Fame.

You’re in good hands when you come to Smith Law Center for help. Reach out online or call (757) 244-7000 to schedule your 100% free consultation.

Military Housing Mold Lawsuits: FAQs

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Use the simple form below to send a message directly to our lawyers. We will respond within 1 hour or less during business hours.

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